AP investigations editor named as founding Howard Center executive editor

December 20, 2018
Category: Business & Work

Arizona State University has hired veteran investigative reporting editor Maud Beelman as the head of the new Scripps Howard Foundation’s Howard Center at ASU.  The Center will be the nation’s first Master’s Degree program for investigative reporting.

Beelman is the U.S. investigations editor for the Associated Press.  Prior to that, she served as deputy managing editor for projects at the Dallas Morning News.

From 1997-2004, she was the founding director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.  ICIJ launched by the Center for Public Integrity was the first global network of investigative reporters. Under her leadership it grew to a network of more than 90 journalists in 45 countries.  The team designing and delivering award-winning international investigations.

Her work earned her the George Polk Award, Sigma Delta Chi Award, ABA Silver Gavel, National Headliner Award and awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Associated Press Media Editors and Society of Professional Journalists.

“We’re thrilled to have an investigative journalist of Maud Beelman’s caliber leading the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at ASU,” said Liz Carter, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation who led the efforts to create Howard Centers at Arizona State and the University of Maryland.

The Scripps Howard Foundation awarded three million dollars each to Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU to build “will be multidisciplinary, graduate-level programs focused on training the next generation of reporters through hands-on investigative journalism projects.” When she announced the grants, Liz Carter, president and CEO of The Scripps Howard Foundation, said this is among the biggest efforts that the 56-year-old foundation has funded.

“We are trying to change the world,” she told Poynter. “That’s it, that’s all we are trying to do.”

Carter told Poynter in August, when Scripps announced the grants, that new graduates used to enter newsrooms then hone their reporting skills, but now newsrooms need a new hire to be ready to work right away. That’s why the new Howard Center will stress real-world reporting.

“We just can’t turn these students out without hands-on skills,” Carter said.

The Howard Center will also encourage journalism schools to recruit students who didn’t graduate from journalism programs to enter investigative reporting.

“We want them to look for great students who can be great investigators,” Carter said. She said she envisions students who come from other majors and bring a range of expertise to use those skills in journalism.

The foundation also envisions the new investigative reporting centers will collaborate with local and national newsrooms who have a great idea for an investigative project but don’t have the resources or manpower to pull it off themselves.

ASU is building a powerhouse lineup of big-name investigative journalists. Beelman joins Sarah Cohen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former data editor of The New York Times and The Washington Post, who is now the Knight Chair in Data Journalism at the Cronkite School. Also teaching at ASU are Len Downie, Jacquee Petchel, the former Miami Herald and Houston Chronicle investigations editor, who now leads Cronkite’s Carnegie-Knight News21 program; and Walter V. Robinson, the former editor of The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, who now is the school’s Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Professor.

The program is wasting no time getting started. The ASU degree program and Howard Center officially launch this summer.

A university press release quoted Bellman: “I’m so honored to have been chosen and so excited to work with these amazing journalists at the innovative and distinguished Cronkite School.” She added, “I’ve had the good fortune to do many wonderful things in my career, but being offered the chance to help shape the future of investigative reporting is more than I could have hoped for.”